On August 1, Petrozavodsk City Court examined three witnesses in the case of Karelian researcher Yuri Dmitriev. He is accused of making pornographic images of his under-age daughter.
Moscow pediatricians Grigory Shayanov and Fedor Katasonov testified for the defense. Shayanov, Ph.D. (Medicine), works with orphans and children from foster families.
As explained by Dmitriev's lawyer Viktor Anufriev, witnesses told the court about healthcare at a distance [remote medical care, including usage of photos] to treat children in Russia:
‘The question is whether it is possible to photograph children for medical purposes or not. According to Yuri Alekseevich, he was shooting a girl to control her physical condition, especially since she came to his family in a neglected state. Are the actions of Yuri Alekseevich special or ordinary in the present life? Or is this an exceptional case in Russia? It turned out that this was not the only case, it is a widespread practice, moreover: in some cases doctors themselves recommend to photograph children to monitor the dynamics.'
The law on healthcare at a distance was signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin on July 30, 2017. It will come into force early next year.
A criminal expert who examined Dmitriev's computer in December 2016 testified for the prosecution.
As before, Dmitriev was greeted by friends, acquaintances and colleagues with an ovation. This time the convoy was not numerous – at the last meeting Dmitriev was accompanied by about eight people of athletic build. The case is still being heard behind closed doors, because it concerns a sexual offence against a minor.
At the next meeting on August 22 the court will examine Yuri Dmitriev, and on August 30 will proceed to the debate.
A well-known researcher of Stalinist repressions, the head of the Karelian branch of the 'Memorial' society, Yuri Dmitriev, was detained in his apartment on December 13, 2016 on suspicion of making pornographic pictures of his adopted daughter. The photos, according to the historian’s defence team, were a diary of the girl's health, who was malnourished when she came to him from the children’s home.
On March 9, 2017, new charges appeared: in addition to producing pornographic materials depicting minors, he was charged with Article 135 of the Russian Criminal Code ('Non-violent sexual abuse’) and 222 ('Illegal keeping of firearms').
On May 11, the court extended the term of detention of the historian until October 22, for the duration of the trial. On May 17, Petrozavodsk city court held a preliminary meeting on the criminal case. On June 1, Petrozavodsk city court began hearing the case in camera. On June 22, Professor Lev Shcheglov, D.Sc. (Medicine), president of the National Institute of Sexology, spoke in court. He gave an assessment of the evaluation of the photographs, commissioned by the prosecution from the Center for Socio-cultural Expertise. According to Shcheglov, there were no pornographic pictures in Dmitriev's case.
Famous Russians, such as the writer Dmitry Bykov, musician Boris Grebenshchikov, actor Yevgeny Tsyganov, writer Alexander Arkhangelsky and film director Andrei Zvyagintsev, have all made video messages with words of encouragement.